Recent Fraud at JDRF: What is happening to non-profits?

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • The recent press regarding JDRF is very disturbing. What's worse is that when I received the e-mail from JDRF and read the article in the NYTiimes, ultimately I was not surprised. This behavior uncovered at JDRF appears to be a growing problem among non-profit businesses!

     

    Personally, I watched someone struggle for 18 months with 3 different non-profits (none was JDRF). The first had a CEO who carefully undermined the foundation that threatened his control over the board, and within 9 months of its start the CEO managed to close it down through deliberate closed door meetings and allowing for stupid mistakes.

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    The second was a very small, worthy non-profit that hired a consultant who never did a fiscal review and wrote a plan to expand their fundraising base without having done the homework. He was paid a handsome sum. Luckily their hire tendered his resignation as a way to save money to the organization, but gave them a 5-year plan to stabilize it and they are growing as a result of quick, ethical behavior.

     

    The third was an organization that had a founder and CEO in a power struggle and both were willing to act unethically and illegally. When called to the floor about it, they fired the ethical person without grounds for dismissal.

     

    Many non profits are suffering issues, and it's been overwhelming to see the effect some decisions have made on well run organizations by their hired professionals! When the CEO of United Way was accused of defrauding the organization of $500,000, it was a stunning review of how personal greed had entered into non-profits. 

     

    I believe what is happening to non-profits is the same thing that is happening to corporate America: personal greed. Books get cooked on fiscal revues to reach these ridiculous goals so bonus structures and salary incentives are received, and it seems that those are really hurting the employees beneath the top and ultimately what money is used for.

     

    With the recent events at JDRF, I'm taking a moment to reach out to those who are appalled, those who will now consider turning their backs on giving and those who will embrace the attitude of a pessimist to say: "Wait a minute, what do we need to do as individuals who are affected by such behavior?" What is the board not asking of themselves and their candidates and employees?

     

    In these cases, I think punishment should be demanded, but directed at whom? From where I sit, if the CEO makes the hire or misses the fraudulent behavior, his TEAM is out! The board needs to hold themselves accountable by reviewing their strategies for hiring and have better policies in place that reflect their standard. They need to get rid of financial incentives and learn to be creative, setting goals based on healthy financial practices. How should the CEO and senior management motivate their teams? A great example.

     

    In the end what happened to JDRF affects me personally, but rather than give up on them, I'm going to demand change and continue to walk toward my cure! The more of us that are heard the better: feedback@jdrf.org

Published On: March 03, 2008